Too many times I am the recipient of customer service that leaves me speechless, and not in a good way!
Whether it’s sales assistants chatting to each other as they serve you or being left to hold on the phone for what feels like days at a time. I’m sure we all have come across what we consider to be far from perfect service.
Service is the Differentiator
There is so much competition out there, quite often the service you deliver is the ONLY THING that differentiates you from your competitors. We pride ourselves not only on our response times but all aspects of our service and we receive many positive comments about it. We know that by providing a great level of service, our clients will return time and time again, as they often do. So why, then, does it seem that for some companies, customer service seems like an afterthought?
You Snooze, You Lose
I read this week, with absolute amazement, an article that contains details of some research that has been undertaken regarding service levels. The report claims that 85% of companies fail to follow up on their inbound leads within 4 days. Yes, you read that right – their response times EXCEED FOUR DAYS! And that’s based on an inbound enquiry!
I can only imagine that such companies must be losing a lot of business by ignoring their customers to such an extent (and yes, there’s no other word for it – ignoring). Still, what’s their loss is undoubtedly others’ gain.
Service Level Agreements
Many companies operate certain aspects of their business to both internal and external SLAs, the latter being agreed between them and their clients & suppliers. I would be amazed if any of those SLAs allowed for response times approaching a week. So why then is it deemed acceptable to keep your clients and prospects hanging on for this length of time? To me, that strikes of an arrogant belief that your company is so good, your client will wait!
More Research Findings
The report goes on to state that the average response time is 31 hours and 37 minutes. This statistic is alarming in itself, though when coupled with the finding that a company is 100 times more likely to make successful contact with a lead when that call is made within 5 minutes rather than within 30 minutes, the thinking behind companies that work to these elongated deadlines baffles me. I mean, why bother calling at all – save yourself the 5 pence phone call!
This is a mobile world that we live in, in the midst of the Age of Technology. Peoples’ willingness to wait for something – be that ordered products, replies to requests etc – has been getting lesser and lesser of late and this trend is unlikely to change in the near future. “Buy Now” buttons have never been more pushed and often the winners in business are those who get there first (early bird, worm and all that). Those who allow complacency, ignorance or arrogance into their business are likely to find themselves being outplayed by more responsive companies with their customers’ interests (and thus, their own) at the forefront.
Taking this research at face value means that the good news is that with apparently 85% of businesses choosing complacency, you need only compete with 15% of the market! I suppose every cloud has a silver lining…